Antec Solo II and Kuhler 920
As cases go, the Antec Solo II aesthetics are sleek and stylish, a nice balance of minimalist and contemporary. Like the piano sonata, it’s subtle. And like the piano, the finish is lovely. The build quality is also excellent both inside and out, and it’s a solid case weighing in at hefty 21lbs. There is plenty of room for good cable management, which made the build process very easy and clean inside. The hinged removable bezel and drop down door make for an easy install of your various drives, along with easy access to the filters for cleaning, and with the soundproofing added to the doors and roof give a quiet computing experience. And although not tool-less, I have to give Antec high marks in this area because the install was still very easy and went quickly.
If I had to nitpick about anything, it would be the top-mounted power supply. The extra weight up top makes the case top heavy, and if you happen to bump it, the Solo II is a bit more prone to tipping as a result. There’s also less heat draw through a power supply if it’s bottom-mounted inside a case, and doesn’t impede airflow out the top if the roof is vented. That said, it’s not a dealbreaker here, as the Solo II is undoubtedly a great case for $130.
As for the Kuhler 920, being a water cooling enthusiast I have to admit I had some trepidation’s about how well the all-in-one cooler design would actually perform. I figured it might be lacking, but that wasn’t the case, as the Kuhler 920 proved to be a very capable self-contained unit, easy to setup, and easy to use.
The software is very straightforward, and the Kuhler 920 fared very well in keeping temperatures low at stock settings. Overclocking certainly pushed the unit harder, and for a modest overclock, it’s easy to achieve a healthy balance of noise levels and performance. But if you want to really start to push more aggressive overclocks, then the fan speeds need to be run very high. And at high RPMs, the Kuhler is very loud. Of course, there are some variables to consider such as internal airflow, type of CPU used, voltage being applied, and the ambient temperatures in the room, but this is perhaps the weakest link of the system overall. But at a price of $95, we can’t complain, as we think this is some good value for what’s being offered.
Both the Antec Solo II and Kuhler 920 are excellent examples of the attention to detail that Antec is putting into their work. Sleek and stylish designs, ease of use, build quality, and reasonably prices are hallmarks of great products, and we’ve come away impressed here today.